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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Realistic Schedules: Time for Health and Family

Educators are known for giving multiple extra hours to the profession. While giving extra often results in good, positive work, it can also take away from health, friends and family, and this is not good.

As educators face multiple schedule decisions, it's important that they retain the time they need for their families, friends, and health.

How can educators do this?

What's Required?
First, it's important to consider the schedule of required time/expectations and the time where you give extra. How does the "extra" positively contribute to the work you are able to do for students, and where is that "extra" not needed or unnecessary? For example, many educators in my system give extra time for legally required meetings. Those meetings can and should be scheduled during the school day as it is part of the required job. If teachers ask that those meetings are scheduled during the school day, they will buy back time for initiatives they're devoted to and time for family, friends, and health.

Necessary Needs
It's also important to consider needs related to health, family, and friends. Some health needs require more time, and educators have to decide if those needs require school year time or summer time. Sometimes it's easier to have a health need met during the lazy days of summer, but if you have babies or small children, it's often better to meet that need during the school year when you have day care in place. This choice will differ depending upon who you are and what your personal schedule are expectations are like.

Strategic Use of Lead Time
Further using lead time to plan well with colleagues helps. For example, I recently reached out to administrative colleagues with regard to next year's schedule related to homework clubs and a number of student supports. If we could talk about those supports up front and schedule ahead, I could easily make the time for those efforts. However, if the efforts are scheduled without teacher voice and at the last minute, it will be much more difficult to support the efforts. With good lead time and teacher voice/choice, efforts end up fitting well into educators' personal/professional schedule as well as their desire to partake in work that makes a positive difference and work that is successful. Last minute, exclusive initiatives generally result in less success and investment.

As I work with families, students, colleagues, and other learning community members, I want to be mindful of the issues above as we work together to craft the best possible teaching/learning supports and efforts to serve every child well.